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Old 10-26-2013, 11:08 PM   #1
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A few questions....

Hey folks,
I have decided to buy an older Boxster, 97-99. It will be a second or third or maybe even 4th vehicle depending on the day, but I think I will drive it more than I think.
That said, my budget is 12.5 to 13k or so tops. I am looking for a low mile, immaculate condition car because that's how I keep my cars.
I know an "S" version would be more fun (faster) but given my budget and the fact that I have a Viper already I don't feel the need to pay the upcharge with money I don't have anyway. lol.

Perusing this site I get the impression that prices on these cars have gone up recently because I have read several posts from a year ago where folks have paid less than what these cars are going for currently.
True?

I have recently driven a 97 with 44k miles. I smelled coolant but couldn't find a leak. Didn't look too hard, just wanted to see if I liked driving the car. I loved the car itself. Despite the coolant smell, however slight, the car ran strong and the chassis and steering felt tight. It hit fuel cutoff at abt 7100 or 7200 rpms. Cosmetically it had many slight scratches on the exterior and some curb rash on at least 1 rim as I recall. Interior VGC. They were asking 13000, seller was a Porsche dealer. Oh yeah, plastic window had a crack in it. Had leather seats and CC I think.
It looked like a 9k dollar car to me. Im pretty sure the dealer will fix the coolant issue if I asked them to if I was buying it.
Thoughts?

Drove a 98 with 33k miles. I watched the exhaust on start up and I thought I smelled oil through the exhaust for the first nano second. Engine ticked upon start up for 10 seconds. (sounded like lifter tick). They say it hadn't run in awhile. Went away then. Car ran good, didn't seem quite as strong as the 97 and fuel shut off occurred at abt 6700 or 6800 rpms.
Cosmetically VGC except what appeared to be 2 significant scratches on rear fender.
Salesman said they would "fix" those. They also had the hard top. Leather seats, CC, interior VGC. Theyre asking 14k. Carfax says ! owner car out of Texas.
Not sure I liked the grey interior enough to deal on it, and not sure I like the idea of them "fixing" scratches. These were deep scratches through the paint, not slight scratches that come just from being an old car. Nice car other wise. Independent dealer.
Thoughts?

Going to look at a 99 next week. Talked to the owner, it has 37k miles and he says it is in "mint" condition, etc. Leather seats, cd player, not sure what else. He is asking 15k. Oh yeah, he said it could use new tires.
What is a pristine condition car like this worth?

Lastly, what options are desirable on these cars? Ive seen pics of full leather interior and some with the cool white face gauges like the newer "S".
What options should I look for??

Sorry about the novel but we all like talking cars anyway, right??
Thanks guys

Last edited by evomind; 10-26-2013 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:22 AM   #2
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Buying a Boxster is not the expensive part of ownership. Maintenance is what most people find expensive. I bought one not only for the driving experience but I enjoy working on cars. These cars are magnificent engineering and machinery but if you have to pay someone else to maintain it the purchase price may be the least of your concerns. The price of the car you were interested in does seem a bit high too me. One reason to consider an S is that the suspension and drive train are more sturdy. Even though car of that age may appear to be well maintained there are parts you can not easily see that just go bad with age and need replacement. If you are a decent mechanic and can do a lot of the maintenance yourself it is you of the best and most fun to drive that you can find at current prices.
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:06 AM   #3
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All these older Boxsters you are looking at seem overpriced.In Canada we pay more than in the States for a Boxster but I think that a decent older Boxster could be had for less than $11k to 12k. I have seen higher mileage 99's for $10k or less.

Ask for receipts for work done. More likely to get them from a private seller. Grind hard on the purchase price and then if you like one have a PPI done on it and if there is work to be done deduct the cost estimates off the offered price. Don't forget that sellers tend overestimate the value of their cars. The $$$ saved you will need to put towards the Box average budget of about $1000-2000 a year if you get somebody else to do the work. Make sure you have read the thread in this forum "thinking about buying a Boxster". Don't buy the first one you see. Try several and take your time. The more you read on this forum the more things you can watch out for looking at the Boxster. eg. CEL light must illuminate on first detent of ignition switch. Then start engine and that light must go out......enjoy your search.

Oh yes options! Mine is a 2001 Box base. It has no remote key unlock or PSM. It was a lottery car. But it does have heated seats and good air conditioning. Make sure to get the options you want and make sure everything works eg. convert. top goes up and down. I would not accept a car with cracked/split window. Quite expensive to fix. But that is up to you.
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:08 AM   #4
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If you hit 7200 rpm it was an S

s has much more than just hp

look 04 or newer. glass window, glove box, cup holder, so on
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:27 AM   #5
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Here's some interesting pricing info- happened to have the last 2 issues of the Excellence buyer's guide handy: oct 12 issue for 97-99 has a range of 7k to 11k and the latest oct 13 issue shows 9k to 12k. So FWIW, they think the market has firmed.

That said, condition is everything on these cars as any delayed maintenance or needed repairs will be costly relative to the purchase price unless you do the work yourself. In my experience (04 S), common failures on these cars include - water pump, motor/trans mounts, coolant tank, CV boots, AOS. Not likely you'd have all these, but very good chance of needing 1 or 2 or other things in the first year. Good idea to have a budget set aside. Also, hate to bring it up but you should research "IMS" bearing and decide if you want to address it or just drive and enoy the car. Best of luck in the search.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
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Nope, it was not a "S". We all know they didn't make an S in 98.
A model year 04 or newer would take me out of my price range unless I want a real high mileage car and I don't.
Thanks
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:54 AM   #7
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Im pretty familiar with cars as Ive owned several semi exotics. Ive never had anything that was a money pit as Ive been careful picking out good used cars.
Vipers are not cheap to fix/maintain either, especially if theyre breaking down.
I know things like bushings and mounts get worn with time regardless what car you buy, that's just the way it goes.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:22 AM   #8
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I bought my 02 in great shape for 12K out the door...I wouldn't buy a 98 for the same price. Mine was well optioned out except for the Lintronics which I picked up a couple of months later.

Last edited by reiver; 10-27-2013 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:24 AM   #9
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I have looked at the IMS bearing issue. The older cars don't seem to suffer it like the later ones.
To be honest, Im not that concerned with it, esp on a 97-99 car.
If I told you .05% of Boxsters suffer internal engine damage due to bad wrist pins are you gonna tear your engine down tomorrow?
I realize that's a question every individual makes but what can I say? If the motor blows it will sit for awhile till I put a new engine in it I guess. Then Ill bet ya Ill have the fastest Boxster in town. lol

Im not new to cars, Im not new to high end sportscars. I wouldn't consider a Boxster as a semi exotic but not new to those either. I can do most repairs myself if I had to but I usually let people I know take care of that for me. They charge me very reasonable rates and a couple of them build race cars for a living so Im in good hands. Again, I know cars pretty well, I just don't get my hands dirty like I used to.

Where Im a noob with these cars is what options make them more desirable or pricey, and it seems prices are higher than what Ive been reading here for low mile (30-40k mile) pristine cars.
I guess its like anything else, supply and demand, so be it. Im not looking to steal it, just pay a fair price and get the best car I can for what Im willing to spend.

Ive owned 3 or 4 Vipers over the years and Ive NEVER spent 2k/year in maintenance. You think Boxster parts/labor is high? lol. Ive spent thousands in upgrades though. Ive been fortunate that Ive never had one break either.
Hey guys, theyre cars....Some break, most don't. I don't need it to get me back and forth to work so I really don't fret on that. Heck, Ive seen new cars blow their engines and ive seen high mile cars that still run strong that never broke anything.

Last edited by evomind; 10-27-2013 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by reiver View Post
I bought my 02 in great shape for 12K out the door...I wouldn't buy a 98 for the same price
The only 02s Im seeing for around the 12s have 70+ miles on them.
Granted there are a lot of great cars with some miles on them but that's not what Im looking for.
I kinda like the early cars anyway. Basic sports car.
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:53 AM   #11
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You obviously know a lot about cars and fixing them too. Keep an open mind about trying the different years. My 2001 Boxster base has a bit more power than a 99 and the S model has even more power. Some owners of the model with the 2.5 engine suit some for racing in a specific category.

On the other hand I never tried an S because I did not feel the need for more power.
Enjoy your search!
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:27 AM   #12
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You obviously know a lot about cars and fixing them too. Keep an open mind about trying the different years. My 2001 Boxster base has a bit more power than a 99 and the S model has even more power. Some owners of the model with the 2.5 engine suit some for racing in a specific category.

On the other hand I never tried an S because I did not feel the need for more power.
Enjoy your search!
If my budget was higher I would buy newer/faster. I have another car that will satisfy need for speed, I have a motorcycle, etc.....I just want a fun sports car to drive in and enjoy it.

Heck, I was inquiring abt a couple I have seen with the Carrera engines in them.
Those are very tempting but difficult for me because I don't know who did the work etc, and then that budget thing came up again. Maybe in a couple of years I would like to buy another Boxster and do an engine swap.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:14 AM   #13
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The only 02s Im seeing for around the 12s have 70+ miles on them.
Granted there are a lot of great cars with some miles on them but that's not what Im looking for.
I kinda like the early cars anyway. Basic sports car.
I think you just said it, "basic sports car".

I'm of the belief that less is more with these cars. Traction control or stability management are unnecessary. Any option that adds weight (eg. Bose stereo package) is also undesirable and of course the seller will expect more money for each "gadget".

My car, a 2000 model "S" was not heavily optioned by the first owner. About the only option I would have really liked it to have in retrospect is the full leather package (dash and doors rather than just the seats). I'm not sure what difference this would make for resale value, although I don't really care. It looks great and would give the car a timeless look in the interior. I intend on keeping this car forever, when it is no longer a DD (been doing the job for nearly 6 years and going strong) I will strip out stereo, trunk linings, some sound deadening and the soft-top and it will become a dedicated fair-weather fun car that is much lighter than most new "sports cars".

It does come down to personal preference, although I would be reluctant to pay up for a list of options unless they were particularly useful to me, not just for resale.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:14 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by evomind View Post
The only 02s Im seeing for around the 12s have 70+ miles on them.
Granted there are a lot of great cars with some miles on them but that's not what Im looking for.
I kinda like the early cars anyway. Basic sports car.
Hmmm - see them lately in Texas. I paid cash on an 02 rather than buying a much newer one and having a car note again. KBB was around $14.5-15k (Which was around asking price on mine), but you negotiate and you can get it down that low.

Edit - You also don't want a low mileage (20-40k) 10+ year old boxster from what I understand on this forum. They supposedly have more problems and are meant to be driven rather than parked for long periods. Mine was almost 60k and I've put about 5k on in the last 3 months.

I would budget in an IMS upgrade for piece of mind if I had to do it again

Last edited by reiver; 10-28-2013 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:07 PM   #15
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The older cars have some specific engine problems that can occur early in their life- under 50 000 mi. I 've read in Excellence, a Porsche- specific magazine, that one should buy them with something like 50 000 mi. or more. Slipped piston liners and porous engine blocks comes to mind. When it comes to options, most seem to value the factory HID headlights- litronics and while these can be added at a later date, the self- levelling option can't be. I think if you search long enough you'll find a real creampuff. One with mint seats, roof, tires and paint. You'll know it when you see it. Also, prices seem to be lowest in Texas.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:55 PM   #16
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The older cars have some specific engine problems that can occur early in their life- under 50 000 mi. I 've read in Excellence, a Porsche- specific magazine, that one should buy them with something like 50 000 mi. or more. Slipped piston liners and porous engine blocks comes to mind. When it comes to options, most seem to value the factory HID headlights- litronics and while these can be added at a later date, the self- levelling option can't be. I think if you search long enough you'll find a real creampuff. One with mint seats, roof, tires and paint. You'll know it when you see it. Also, prices seem to be lowest in Texas.
Yep, I have to get the levelling kit now as my lintronics are definitely misaligned. I wish I knew how to manually align them temporarily. I live in Texas and everything is cheaper than pretty much any other U.S. location I travel to...
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Old 10-29-2013, 03:38 PM   #17
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Hey, does the "S" handle any better than the base models? I know the S has upgraded brakes and possibly slightly wider tires, but besides that? Maybe different coil overs or something?
Thanks
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:54 PM   #18
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Hey, does the "S" handle any better than the base models? I know the S has upgraded brakes and possibly slightly wider tires, but besides that? Maybe different coil overs or something?
Thanks
the Boxster S does have upgraded suspension also has a 6 speed too . The 3.2 is what your really after it does make a big difference . The best performance upgrade by far on any boxster would be the suspension.

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